Al-Ahram Weekly Online   6 - 12 December 2007
Issue No. 874
Reader's corner
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Readers' corner

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Napoleon's doing

Sir-- Eric Walberg's 'Colonising a metaphor' (29 November-5 December) is a fascinating and educational article. I would simply comment that according to Simon Swarzfuchs, a scholar of Jewish history, the Sanhedrin was not revived just recently as Walberg states, but it was Napoleon: "Napoleon is loved by Jews worldwide because on 31 January 1807 he reconvened the Sanhedrin in Paris after the ancient council was dormant for nearly 1,400 years, since AD 425. Subsequent Sanhedrin meetings were convened which ultimately led to Jewish resettlement in France, and later all of Europe, after their expulsion in the 15th and 16th centuries from virtually all of Western Europe.'

Richard Wilcox

Kucinich no coward

Sir-- In 'Bush's Divine Comedy: Part I' (15-21 November) there is one error in its final paragraph. Dennis Kucinich, like fellow Congressman Henry Waxman, are among the minority in the Capital who either don't fear, or have overcome their fear, of George W Bush. Look at Kucinich's record. He has a history of standing in the face of adversity, even when the personal cost was great. Kucinich did not target Cheney for impeachment because he was afraid of Bush. Rather, he targeted Cheney out of another fear, that one being the fact that if Bush were successfully impeached before Cheney, you would have the effect of putting the man who would quite likely declare a state of emergency, declare martial law, disband the Congress and courts, and officially turn our nation into the police state that it currently tries to disguise from its residents, into the Oval Office. Going after Cheney first short-circuits this possibility. By the way, the idea to impeach Cheney first has been circulating around the progressive community here in the US for a number of months now.

Rob Smith

Al-Obour drowning

Sir-- As a resident of Al-Obour City and subscriber of Al-Ahram Weekly I have not yet read anything about our big water problem here in the city, although I have heard that other newspapers and the TV, too, have talked about this big scandal.

Four hundred villas, and a large number of their inhabitants, are under water. They have installed pumps around the houses and if electricity is cut for a while they are unable to move because of the overflow. The people are really frustrated because they spent all their money on their homes and don't know where to go. They have gone to court but it has been fruitless.

For the past half year the case has been under the administration of the Ministry of Housing, and as far as I know the ministry has been licensed to solve the problem together with the technical help of scientists from the Faculty of Engineering at Ain Shams, but nothing has happened and the water increases every day two centimetres. Which means that after another six months my house will be flooded. And as the experts at Ain Shams have already predicted, after two or three years there will be no more Al-Obour City.

Christiane Paulus

Perhaps not Nefertiti

Sir-- I enjoyed very much reading your article and research about the mummies found in Egypt. I have studied some of the research on Nefertiti and it seems to me that the mummy found that is believed to be her cannot possibly be referred to as a queen or Pharaoh. Although Nefertiti was beautiful, as well as intelligent as is revealed by her artistic legacy, she died as a commoner. In other words, she had no tomb or death chamber. Pharaohs and queens all had chambers and tombs. On the other hand, this mummy died as a victim as is evident according to the perforations in her body. This mummy could represent the traces of the body of one of the many wives of the Pharaoh; it is possible that it is Nefertiti but perhaps not. It is quite a puzzle to figure out who could have been taking the place of the queen -- if this mummy or Nefertiti was never one -- because the queen could have been one of the hundreds of wives or even the mother of the Pharaoh. Since a Pharaoh had innumerable wives and even often committed incest with his own mother, daughters and female members in the court, the guess is quite a challenge.

Gustavo Zedillo
Mexico City

Respectable Roma

Sir-- As owner and manager of Pension Roma mentioned in your article 'Gazelle's blood on the ceiling' (22-28 November), I deeply resent the implication that my establishment does not attract a respectable clientele. Pension Roma has always enjoyed an excellent reputation as one of the few hostelries in downtown Cairo that offers safe, friendly and spotlessly clean accommodation at a very competitive price. In fact, to quote an article published in your own newspaper in June 2004:

'But for the ultimate price-performance ration, my vote definitely goes to the Pension Roma. Located on the fourth floor of an old building just off Mohamed Farid Street, this Italian-run pension simply exudes style and taste. Clean and freshly painted, every single corner of the premises is lovingly decorated with an eclectic mix of antique furniture, polished copper plates and white, sweeping drapes. The polished parquet flooring in the rooms sets off the decor perfectly, and this is one of the few places I would ever consider calling a home away from home. Service is low-key and extremely friendly."

I invite you to visit our premises, review our guest lists and talk to our guests. You will find that we are currently hosting the project manager for a major international news network; a French architect, who is working on a project for the Egyptian government; a group of renowned French, Dutch, German and Canadian architects; and a prominent consultant economist. The South African ambassador in Riyadh is booked to spend the holidays with his family and a group of friends at the Pension. The former cultural attaché at the British Embassy in Cairo and a frequent contributor to your esteemed newspaper, the late Mamdouh El-Dakhakhny, was a regular guest at the Pension.

We take pride in the fact that many of our guests choose to return time and again to Pension Roma. Many of our guests can certainly afford more expensive or luxurious accommodation but choose to stay at Pension Roma for the exceptional service and cosy, comfortable atmosphere that we work hard to provide.

A Cressaty
Owner and Manager
Pension Roma

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